If you’re just beginning university, it might seem crazy to be thinking now about the job you’re going to do when it’s all over. But not only will those three or four years pass in a flash, you’ll also find that opportunities will whizz by too.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what you want to do when you leave, but using your time at Uni to develop yourself and gain useful experiences does matter to employers who might one day give you a job.
So here are Five Top Tips to make the most of your first year, without focusing too far ahead!
1. Do Something! Whatever your degree programme, make sure you get involved in sports, hobbies and volunteering. All those little somethings, especially the fun ones, add up to useful experiences that show your enthusiasm and commitment. Employers really value that. They want people who have fun and work hard at things they enjoy.
2. Think about Working. Studying full time is hard work, and no one wants you to get overloaded, especially if you’re also doing lots of other things. It’s also easy to think that ‘just working in a café’ is not going to help your future career. But any part-time job is a great way to focus on those core skills that employers value – working with others, customer service, being organised, getting things done. And the money is handy too!
3. Have a Peek at Someone Else’s Job. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what you want to do later on: just think of a job that interests you. You can research job profiles at Prospects or TargetJobs to get you started. Find out if your university has a work shadowing programme that gives you a chance to spend a day or two with a professional. If your Uni doesn’t offer a scheme like that, then contact local businesses near your Uni or home and write to ask if they can host you. People usually say yes!
4. Take a Step Back. In the flurry of ‘doing something’ it can be really hard to find time to work out what you’re getting out of it. But it helps to take time every few weeks to make a note of new things you’ve done. Understanding what you enjoy, hate, are good at or want to get better will help you get to know yourself better. That also helps with your CV and with planning for your future later on.
5. Visit your Careers Service! Don’t be a stranger! Come in and see the careers professionals who can talk to you about what your options are with your degree, and how to make the most out the summer of 2017 which will be here before you know it. We’re here to help, so come and say hello!
Have a great time at Uni! Work hard at your studies and your other activities, and you’ll be ready for whatever future you choose!
This blog is by Kate Daubney, Director of Careers and Employability at the University of Chester, and a BrandU Trailblazer.